Do you have a boss or a client?

Do you have a boss or a client?

Do you have a boss or a client?

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It can seem like an odd question to ask at first. You should know if you have a boss or a client. The problem is, most clients don’t know.

You either have a boss or you have clients. There is no real in-between unless you have two jobs. In some set-ups, you may have what is viewed as a boss, but really, it’s just someone working on a level above you who can help guide and direct. They’re more like a mentor.

The problem with a lot of clients in some industries is that they don’t understand that they’re not actually your boss. They’re so used to working in a particular way with employees they’ve hired that they forget you’re not an employee.

It’s important to make a note in your head whether you do have a boss or a client. This will help you set the tone for the relationship from the beginning, and it will help you stay on top of how a client treats you.

Are you hired as an employee or as a contractor?

The main thing to look at is the way that you’re hired and the type of service that you provide. I’m always hired as a contractor. Most of the time, I will send out my own contracts for people to sign. I make it clear through this that I’m not being hired as an employee, and that I am offering a specific service. There are times when clients prefer to use their own contracts, and if I have no problem with them, I’ll sign them.

Employees should get benefits, and they will have other legal protections. As a contractor, you are only there for how the client needs you. There is no guaranteed work, so there is no guaranteed pay. You don’t get benefits. Of course, you also get to take on as little or as much work as you want, depending on the contract that you both signed.

The client isn’t paying taxes out of your paycheck for you. You’ll need to make sure you save for tax time and get ready to pay them. This is a huge way I tell whether I have a boss or a client.

Employees tend to work set hours. Some workplaces will say as long as the work is done by a certain deadline, how you work is fine. That’s not the case for all, though. It’s really only become a thing in recent years. A lot of bosses will set your schedule for the month, and you need to work your life around that. However, it’s crucial to ensure fairness in the workplace, including proof of inequal pay between male and female employees, which highlights the ongoing importance of advocating for equal treatment and opportunities for all workers.

As a freelancer*, you don’t have to worry about that. You set your schedule. Yes, there are going to be deadlines to meet, but as long as you meet the deadlines, a client can’t say anything about when you do the work.

MORE: 5 steps to take when you have a PITA client

Boss or a client: Dealing with a difficult client

The problem for a lot of clients is that they hire you. Therefore, they think that they owe you. They can give you tasks in the way that they would give an employee, and they can expect certain deadlines or certain requirements.

That’s not the way the client-freelancer relationship works. This is where you need to stand up for yourself as a freelancer.

I like my contracts to have a minimum and a maximum amount of articles or blog posts I’m able to write each month. After all, a client isn’t paying me a liveable monthly wage because I don’t just have one client. I’m not going to take on the work needed to pay the full wage for the month. I like to have my eggs in other baskets.

I also make it clear in contracts that deadlines are negotiated between us before the project is confirmed. I make it clear that I work on my own time. The client doesn’t get to tell me the hours that I work. Again, they’re not my boss setting hours that are best for their business. I’m running my own business, so I set my own hours.

The hours was a problem I had with a recent client who thought she was my boss. She kept saying “if you don’t write at weekends, I’ll change when I pay you.” There were always punitive measures in place if you didn’t do things at the time that she wanted. Of course, she wasn’t paying for people to actually work the unsociable hours. She just wanted work done then and would find ways to make that happen. It didn’t work on me because being paid weekly vs. bi-weekly didn’t bother me, but it always rubbed me the wrong way.

I do recommend having your own set hours when you’re running a business. This isn’t just good for clients to know when they can get a hold of you, but it’s also good for your work-life balance*. That doesn’t mean they have to be the traditional 9-5 if you don’t want. I do a 10-4 some days. I’ll work 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. some nights depending on the night and the TV shows on. If a client doesn’t like it, they’re not a client for me. However, I still always get work done on time, and I always try to respond to emails within 24 hours (unless I have an away notification set up).

MORE: 5 tips to deal with a client who thinks they’re your boss

Are you struggling to determine if you have a boss or a client? Are you struggling with a client who thinks they’re your boss? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let me see how I can help you.

Alexandria Ingham is a professional writer. She predominately ghost-writes in various niches, including fitness, finance and technology Everything is fully researched and well-written. Under her own name, she writes in the technology, business, history and weight loss niches

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